The Loss of the Tolesby/The Cotton Wreck

The steamer S.S. Tolesby out of West Hartlepool, England left Galveston, Texas, with a load of cotton for France. In February 1908, she ran into a blinding snow storm off Cape Race, NL, and, with her crew of 27, was shipwrecked nearby in Trepassey Bay
The fishermen from The Drook, Portugal Cove South, in a daring rescue led by Joe Perry, risked their lives to save the shipwrecked sailors. they used ropes to scale the 500 foot cliffs to the rocks below and they saved the crew of the SS Tolesby.


The Wreck Of The Tolesby (Coll. by James Murphy) with lyrics
See also: The Wreck Of The Tolsby (Coll. by MacEdward Leach)
(The Loss Of The Tolesby)

You daring sons of Newfoundland, come listen unto me,
And I will sing of dangers that are to be met at sea;
I will tell you of the Tolesby that came to grief one day,
At a place called Little Seal Cove, up in Trepassey Bay.

She left Galveston, Texas, in December, safe and sound,
With a heavy load of cotton, to Havre, France was bound;
And her voyage was uneventful till her course we tried to trace,
All in a blinding snow storm, when making for Cape Race.

‘Twas on Monday afternoon, this storm it did appear,
On the thirteenth day of January, to you I will make clear;
When suddenly she struck the rocks where ships have struck before,
Some distance from Fresh Water Point, near Little Seal Cove Shore.

With twenty-seven souls on board, which did comprise the crew,
They lowered the boats when Captain Payne gave orders for to do;
Like matchwood they were smashed in twain by heavy seas on knocks,
Which those frail craft encountered by striking on the rocks.

They jumped into the seething surf and swam towards the beach,
Which, thanks unto kind Providence they all did safely reach;
And with the wreckage from the ship they lit, amidst the storm,
A fire upon the rocky beach, that night, to keep them warm.

They won’t forget that awful night when they had reached the shore,
With a frowning cliff around them, and the ocean’s maddened roar;
With frozen sleet beneath their feet, and facing blinding spray,
Shipwrecked at Little Seal Cove, up in Trepassey Bay.

At ten o’clock next morning some fishermen from Drook,
As down that awful precipice they chanced to cast a look;
They saw the Tolesby’s shipwrecked crew five hundred feet below,
While brave Joe Perry volunteered that he to them would go.

This gallant, valiant fisherman, that did this deed so bold,
His name it should be handed down in letters of bright gold;
None but a noble fisherman such danger would have faced,
As they lowered him o’er the hillside with a rope tied ’round his waist.

And now amongst the shipwrecked crew the rescuer he stands,
With a dozen fishermen above, with strong and willing hands;
Around the waist of twenty-two the hempen rope he tied,
And one by one they were pulled up that rugged, steep hillside.

Oh, tell me not of other lands where courage has been shown;
Have we not got the men to do such brave deeds in our own.
Where would you find much braver men than those upon that day,
Who saved the Tolesby’s shipwrecked crew up in Trepassey Bay.